Fishing Glacier National Park & Western Montana

Fishing

Win a Winter Warrior Adventure

Fishing: Time Well Spent

We're not one to toot our own horn, but when there is something as incredible as our Montana fishing, we simply have to tell you about it. Western Montana has some of the most pristine, undisturbed waters that nature has to offer. Our streams, river and lakes offer competitive fishing for the hardcore angler, as well as an abundance of easily accessible choices for the casual fisherman.

Fly-fish the Blackfoot River—made famous by A River Runs Through It—as it navigates its way west before joining with the Clark Fork River. The Clark Fork runs through the heart of downtown Missoula—simply grab a pole and head down to the shore in town. Or try the fishable waters of the Middle Fork of the Flathead as it navigates its way through deep, quiet canyons with the peaks of Glacier National Park in the background. And if you're looking to fish in an even quieter part of the region, head to Lincoln County and cast your line in the Kootenai River.

In addition to our great fly-fishing in Montana, we also have stellar fishing guides and outfitters ready to take you to their favorite fishing hole, help you land your trophy and make your excursion as enjoyable as possible


Quick Links

Fishing Access Sites


View Larger Map

With rivers aplenty in Western Montana, there is truly no lack of locations to cast your line. The map lists easily accessible fishing access sites around the region.

In addition to these sites, there are many fishing locations found in national forests and wilderness areas in Glacier Country. Most of them require a short hike or a longer journey to a high alpine lake.

Techniques and Tackle

In Montana, fishing methods vary with the season, the type of water, and the angler's personal preference. Fly, spin and bait fishing are all popular techniques, although the use of bait is restricted on some streams. In general, most fly fishers use five-, six- or seven-weight rods that are around eight or nine feet long, while spin and bait fishermen favor medium-action rods. Ultra light spinning gear is also popular.

Wading is the most common technique along streams and rivers and hip boots or waders are definitely wanted and needed. Waders also help improve traction on slippery stream bottoms.

Float Fishing

Float fishing is an increasingly popular activity, especially on larger rivers. Please keep in mind that some rivers can be volatile in high water. Inexperienced floaters should inquire about water conditions and possible hazards before hitting the water. Our recommendation: hire a local guide to help direct your float fishing adventure.

Motorboats

Motorized boats are allowed on most lakes and on some larger rivers. All motorboats must have a valid license, while users should wear a PFD. To help prevent the spread of invasive weeds and species, boaters should be sure to inspect, clean and dry their equipment before entering a new body of water.

Seasons

In Montana, you can fish year-round. However, there are seasonal regulations and water conditions that have an impact on fishing. In general, lakes and larger rivers are open to fishing all year, while some smaller tributaries are closed in the winter.

Spring run-off causes many rivers to be high and muddy from May through late June, although anglers can still enjoy good fishing on spring creeks and some smaller streams. Fly-fishing will find most waters in prime condition from late June through October, although March and April can provide prime fishing before run-off begins.

Winter comes early and stays long in the high country, confining alpine lake fishing to the summer months. Anglers can still cast a line through winter fly-fishing or ice fishing.

Fishing Etiquette

Proper fishing etiquette is important to get the most out of the angling experience, while still preserving and protecting Montana's pristine waters for future generation. Keep in mind that boat access areas can be busy places.

Do your best to not encroach on another angler's space. There will be instances when a wading angler should yield to floaters, as there is no other channel for floaters to navigate. If possible, avoid using the streambed as a pathway as this foot traffic can damage fragile aquatic habitat.

Do not introduce or move fish from one waterway to another. This can have a detrimental effect on native populations, as well as reducing water and habitat quality. Use only live bait fish where it is legal and safely dispose of unused bait fish.

To report fish violations, call 1.800.TIPMONT.

Montana's Trespass Law

Montana's trespass law states that a member of the public has the privilege to enter private land only with the explicit permission of the landowner or his agent, or when the landowner has failed to post a no-trespassing notice. The recreationist is responsible for finding out if private lands are posted. If lands are posted, the recreationist must obtain permission from the landowner before entering them. Montana big game hunters must always obtain permission. Recreationists are urged to obtain complete rules about this law from any Fish, Wildlife & Parks office.

In the interest of public health and safety, certain areas above and below all Montana Power Company owned and operated dams are closed to the public. These include areas where no public access is allowed below the ordinary high water mark, as well as areas of no boating, sailing, floating of swimming. Signs and/or boat restraining systems identify the area. For specific closures, call 1.800.247.9131.

Stream Access

Montana law allows the public to make recreational use of rivers and streams between the ordinary high-water marks. Anglers can wade in a stream, walk along the stream bank below the high-water mark or float fish on any waters large enough to carry a boat.

Please keep in mind that the law does not give recreationists the right to enter private lands bordering streams or to cross private lands to gain access to streams. The success of the stream access law depends on recreationists and landowners cooperating on a basis of mutual understanding and respect for private property rights.

Catching Tagged Fish

If you catch a tagged fish please report the following information to any Fish, Wildlife &Parks office:

  • The tag's number and color;
  • The date the fish was caught;
  • The species of the fish;
  • The fish's length and weight (close as possible);
  • Location of the catch (the body of water and distance from nearest landmark);
  • If the fish was kept or released; and
  • The name and address of the angler

Releasing Fish

When practicing catch and release fishing, please observe the following guidelines:

  • Play the fish as rapidly as possible, do not play it to total exhaustion.
  • Try to keep the fish in water as much as possible when handling and removing the hook.
  • Remove the hook gently and do not squeeze the fish or put your fingers in its gills.
  • If the fish is deeply hooked, cut the line (most fish survive with hooks left in).
  • Release the fish only after it has gained its equilibrium. If necessary, gently hold the fish upright in the current facing upstream and move it slowly back and forth.
  • Release the fish in quiet water close to the area where it was hooked.

Special Advisory- Whirling Disease

Montana's wild and native trout are one of our most precious natural resources. Whirling disease, a potentially fatal illness to trout and salmon, has been found in Montana. Please help prevent its spread and preserve our fisheries.

Dos & Don'ts

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks urges anglers, boaters and others to follow these DOs & DO'NTs:

DO remove all mud and aquatic plants from your vehicle, boat, anchor, trailer and axles, waders, boots and fishing gear before departing the fishing access site or boat dock.
DO dry your boat and equipment between river trips.
DON'T transport fish from one body of water to another.
DON'T dispose of fish entrails, skeletal parts or other by-products in any body of water.
DON'T collect sculpins (also known as bullheads) or use sculpins as bait.

Noxious Weeds

Noxious weeds, including spotted knapweed and leafy spurge infest millions of acres and limit recreational opportunities. They also reduce habitat for fish, wildlife and livestock and choke out native plant species. Be a good land steward and learn to identify noxious weed species and prevent their spread.

For more information, visit The Montana Weed Association.

Fishing Guide and Outfitter Services

Featured Listings

Click here to filter results

Clear region
Northern
Southern

Fishing Guide and Outfitter Services
Other Listings

Region 1

Company
Phone
Location

Big Salmon Outfitters

http://bigsalmonoutfitters.com
406-676-3999
Ronan

Cheff's Guest Ranch and Outfitters

http://cheffguestranch.com
406-644-2557
Charlo

Swan Mountain Outfitters

http://swanmountainoutfitters.com
406-886-3900
Swan Lake

Big Salmon Outfitters

http://bigsalmonoutfitters.com/
406-676-3999
Ronan

Cut Bank Creek Outfitters

406-338-5567
Browning

Morning Star Troutfitters

http://blackfeettrout.com
406-338-2785
Browning

Montana Old West Outfitters

406-336-3966
Browning

Bigfork Anglers

http://bigforkanglers.com
406-837-3675
Bigfork

Channel Outfitters

http://channeloutfitters.com
406-837-3565
Bigfork

Crane Mountain Guide

406-837-4391
Bigfork

Flathead Lake Charters

http://flatheadlakecharters.com
406-837-3632
Bigfork

Two River Gear and Outfitter

406-837-3474
Bigfork

Gentry River Ranch

http://gentryriverranch.com
406-892-1464
Columbia Falls

Glacier Fishing Charters

http://landwehroutfitters.com
406-892-2377
Columbia Falls

Salmon Forks Outfitters

http://salmonforks.com
406-892-5468
Columbia Falls

Snowy Springs Outfitters

http://snowysprings.com
406-226-9225
Essex

Skyline Outfit

http://wildmontana.com
406-387-4051
Hungry Horse

B and D Outfitters

http://banddoutfitters.com
406-752-7842
Kalispell

Great Bear Outfitters

406-755-3210
Kalispell

Mo Fisch Charters and Tours

http://mofisch.com
406-755-4414
Kalispell

A Able Fishing Charters & Tours

http://aablefishing.com
406-844-0888
Lakeside

Glacier Outdoor Center Fly Shop

http://glacierraftco.com
406-888-5454
West Glacier

Montana Raft Company

http://glacierguides.com
406-387-555
West Glacier

Diamond R Guest Ranch

http://diamondrranch.com
406-862-5905
Whitefish

Montana River Anglers

http://montanariveranglers.com
406-862-3448
Whitefish

Spotted Bear Ranch

http://Spottedbear.com
406-862-4444
Whitefish

Region 2

Company
Phone
Location

Big Sky Inflatables (Equipment)

406-251-3337
Missoula

Blackfoot River Outfitters

http://blackfootriver.com
406-542-7411
Missoula

Five Valley Flyfishers

406-728-9434
Missoula

Grizzly Hackle International Fishing

http://grizzlyhackle.com
406-721-8996
Missoula

Paws Up Outfitters

http://pawsupoutfitters.com
406-244-5363
Missoula

The Missoulian Angler Fly Shop

http://missoulianangler.com
406-728-7766
Missoula

JM Bar Outfitters LLC

http://jmbaroutfitters.com
406-825-3230
Clinton

John Perry's Montana Flyfishing

http://johnperryflyfishing.com
406-825-2997
Clinton

Fly Fishing Adventures

http://flyfishingadventures.info
406-550-3144
Lolo

Holland Lake Lodge

http://www.hollandlakelodge.com
406-754-2282
Condon

Bill Mitchell Outfitters

http://billmitchelloutfitters.com
406-363-4129
Hamilton

Bitterroot Rafting Adventures

http://bitterrootraftingadventures.com
406-375-9317
Hamilton

Fishaus Fly Fishing

406-363-6158
Hamilton

Fly Fishing Always

http://Flyfishingalways.com
406-360-4346
Hamilton

M and M Fly Fishing

406-375-2459
Hamilton

Montana Flywater Company

http://catchmontana.com
406-363-1020
Hamilton

John Rose Outfitter & Guide Service

http://montanahunt.com
406-363-3522
Hamilton

Trout Fishing Only

http://abbotsmontanafishing.com
406-363-2408
Hamilton

Two Bear Outfitters & Guide Service

http://elkoutfitters.com
406-375-0070
Hamilton

Bitterroot Fly Company

http://bitterrootflycompany.com
406-821-1624
Darby

Circle KBL Outfitters

http://circlekbl.com
406-821-0017
Darby

East Fork Outfitters

http://eastforkoutfitters.com
406-821-2040
Conner

Flying W. Outfitters

http://www.flyingwoutfitters.com/
406-821-4900
Conner

Two Bear Outfitters & Guide Service

http://elkoutfitters.com
406-375-0070
Darby

Anglers Afloat

406-777-3421
Stevensville

Backdoor Outfitters

http://backdooroutfitters.com
406-777-3861
Stevensville

Bitterroot Anglers

406-375-1901
Stevensville

Carl Mann's Montana Experience Outfitters

http://carlmannsoutfitting.com
406-777-1687
Stevensville

Fish Eddy O

http://www.fishseddyo.com/
406-777-1449
Stevensville

Five Bears Outfitters

http://fivebearsoutfitters.com
406-273-2677
Florence

Fiver Otter Flyshop & Outfitters

http://riverotterflyfishing.com
406-273-4858
Florence

Wapiti Waters

http://wapiti-waters.com
406-642-6548
Victor

Region 3

Company
Phone
Location

Dave Blackburn's Kootenai Angler

http://www.montana-flyfishing.com
406-293-7578
Libby

Lazy JR Outfitters

406-293-0629
Libby

Kootenai River Outfitters

http://kroutfitters.com
406-295-9444
Troy

Linehan Outfitting Company

http://fishmontana.com
406-295-4872
Troy

Hole in the Wall Ranch

http://holeinthewallranch.com
406-239-2882
Alberton

Rugg's Outfitting LLC

http://www.ruggsoutfitting.com
406-822-4240
Superior

Adventures with Western Waters

http://westernwaters.com
406-822-8282
Superior

Clark Fork River Outfitters

http://flyfishbigsky.com
406-826-4220
Saint Regis

Clark Fork Trout & Tackle

http://clarkforktrout.com
406-649-2538
Saint Regis

Joe Cantrell Outfitting

http://joecantrelloutfitting.com
406-649-3474
Saint Regis

Flat Iron Outfitting

http://flatironoutfitting.com
406-827-7606
Thompson Falls

Rocky Point Outfitters

http://rockypointoutfitters.com
406-827-1600
Thompson Falls

Triple M Outfitters

http://triplemoutfitters.com
406-246-3249

Cabinet Mountain Outfitters

http://cabinetmtoutfitters.com
406-826-3970
Plains

Western Timberline Outfitters

http://westerntimberlineoutfitters.com
406-826-3874
Plains

Jerry Malson Outfitting

http://jerrymalsonoutfitting.com
406-827-3789
Trout Creek

Additional Links

Discover


Call For Expert Help

1.800.338.5072

You might also like

Fishing in Western Montana & Glacier National Park

Western Montana's Glacier Country

News from Glacier National Park: Currently 16.5 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open for travel.View Full Road Report

Events

Fall Mack Days Oct 24, 2014

Tiny Tales Oct 24, 2014

Fall Mack Days Oct 25, 2014

View all events

Bird Woman Falls

An icon in Glacier National Park, Bird Woman Falls is a glistening 492-foot-high waterfall that cascades down the side of Mt. Oberlin. From West Glacier, travel the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Bird Woman Falls Overlook, located on the west side of the Continental Divide.

Trail of the Cedars

This short boardwalk trail (ADA accessible) takes visitors through an old growth cedar forest. It’s also the beginning of the Avalanche Lake Trail (just over two miles long) that leads to Avalanche Lake—one of the most popular day hikes in Glacier National Park. Trail of the Cedars is located about five and a half miles north of Lake McDonald Lodge.

Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road

If your time in Glacier National Park is limited, one must-see attraction is the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This 50-mile long road takes travelers between St. Mary and West Glacier through the heart of the park, crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. There are numerous pullouts along the road, ideal for taking photographs and enjoying the scenery.

See a Glacier

As you’re traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road, pull over at Jackson Glacier Overlook (located east of Logan Pass). The overlook offers the best opportunity to see a glacier from the road.

Many Glacier Valley

Home to incredible mountains, active glaciers, abundant wildlife and miles of hiking trails, Many Glacier is located in the northwest section of Glacier National Park. Trails leave from this valley in numerous directions, with popular hiking destinations including Iceberg Lake, Grinnell Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel.